For Mother’s Day, I decided to interview my mom about all things motherhood. Although we live together, we’ve never really had a chance to discuss what motherhood was like for her or how she views me as a mom. We did this via phone, as she was out of town for work. I did have to edit out some funny moments in order to keep this as concise as possible, but I learned a lot about her in the process. I love you, mom!
On Kids and Grandkids
Did you ever want kids? How did you feel about having your first versus having your second?
Mom: Originally, I did not want to have kids. I never saw myself as having children. I wanted to travel and be a career woman and do my own thing. Then I found myself married, and I was not prepared to be pregnant. I wasn’t overly excited to be pregnant. I was in school, and it added a lot of stress to me. I can honestly say that my first pregnancy wasn’t as expected as my second pregnancy, which was planned.
How does it feel that your kids have had kids — or why do you think grandparents are more obsessed with their grandkids than their own kids?
It’s still unimaginable to say that my kids have kids because as a parent, you don’t ever see your kids as independent adults. When you say the words, it’s surreal. But when you see the grandkids, it’s indescribable the love you have for these children. I don’t know where it comes from. I always thought I don’t want to be bogged down babysitting these grandkids, and now that they’re here, that’s all I think about. I worry about them, I want the best for them, I want to do everything for them, I want to buy them everything. I want them to have everything you and your brother had, and then some. They’re the ones I think about all the time, and to be honest, that’s all that matters.
What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
Knowing when to say yes and when to say no. And always fearing whatever problems, ailments, or stressors your kids have could possible be because of the choices I made as a mom. Period.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to be a mom?
Enjoy every minute of it. Don’t stress over any of it because they grow up so quick.
Is that all?
Yes. I mean, as a new mom you worry about everything; that they sneeze, that they get enough milk, and blah blah blah. Yeah, as long as the kid is safe, stop worrying and just enjoy it!
If you could go back in time and change anything, what would it be?
I probably wouldn’t have worked as much as I did when you and your brother were growing up. I missed out on a lot.
I feel like you were always there, though. I never felt like you were absent.
Right, but that’s because you were so little when I wasn’t there. The time when you were in the hospital with a really bad urinary tract infection or when your brother was in the NICU because he couldn’t keep milk down, I had to go to work because I was the main income earner. I felt that I needed to be there. I was torn between having to fulfill my responsibilities to my family financially and seeing my kids in the hospital. I think I just worked way too much sometimes. If I could’ve been there during the day to see you off, to take you to school, to have lunch with you, or be in PTA, I wouldn’t feel this way. I think that’s more for me. You may not have felt some of the absence, but I wish I could’ve been more involved.
On You and Me
Do you think you turned out to be your mother? Do you think I’m turning into you?
No, and no. My mother unfortunately was ill, and she had a lot of issues. She was an alcoholic, she was a little manipulative, and she had OCD. She wasn’t as present as a mom should be. When she was okay and lucid, she was a good mom, but I would say half the time she wasn’t a mom because she was in her own little world. I’m not like my mom. At age 12, I was determined to not be like my mom. I shied away from drinking and partying and all that. I don’t think you’re like me at all. We couldn’t be more different. You’re more like your father: free-spirited. I’m more rigid because my upbringing influenced me to be more responsible and so put-together and in control because there wasn’t an example like that in my house.
What do you love most about me?
Your stubbornness. You stick to your guns. You don’t take no for an answer. You march to your own drumbeat; you always have, ever since you were little. You’ve always been strong-willed. I feel that even though culturally, I was made to not rock the boat, not give my opinion, and just do what I was told — you just always said “whatever, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.” I think you fought tooth-and-nail to be you to the point where I’m just like, that’s just who she is. I couldn’t mold you the way I wanted to fit the illusion of what my daughter should be like. I do feel like you’ve had some restraint. You did hold back, I think, to keep me from losing my mind. Like, you would be right on the edge but held back just enough so that I wouldn’t kill you! And now that you’re about to be 26, you’re like, “Screw it, I’m getting a big tattoo on my elbow regardless of what she thinks because I went to college and I make my own money and I make my own decisions!”
Do you think you did your job as a mother, seeing where your kids are at now?
Yes, I think I was always vocal about what I hoped, dreamed, and expected for you guys. I feel like I’ve supported both of you through everything, and I’m happy to see where you’re at in your lives now.